arifin ilham


arifin ilham
1. Aimed at the lower end of the market, Hidayah has been Indonesia’s top-selling magazine
since at least 2004. In 2007, it had 2.1 million readers per edition. Hidayah’s feature stories
are usually morality tales in which virtue is rewarded and dissolution punished. The cover
shown here has the headline ‘Man with no faith tormented in the tomb’, and luridly portrays
the horrible fate awaiting those who sin.
2. RomantISLAM is an SMS service founded by popular Sufi preacher Arifin Ilham. It offers
advice on love-related matters to subscribers, drawing on the example of the Prophet
Muhammad. The caption reads: ‘Bathing with his wife was among the Prophet’s favourite
pleasures, to the point where they were always racing each other to find water … Do you
want to be intimate and romantic with your wife or husband like the Prophet? Get the secrets
direct from Ust. Arifin Ilham’.
3. Abdullah Gymnastiar’s MQNet enjoyed considerable
success between 2004 and 2006
as a web-based multi-level
marketing program. The imagery
in this web advertisement
promotes consumption, albeit
with a strong Islamic overtone.
In the Tausyiah (religious advice)
section, Gymnastiar writes: ‘What
is wrong with aspiring to be rich?
Who would reject becoming a
millionaire or billionaire?’ He
urges Muslims to join his pyramid
marketing scheme, declaring:
‘Business can become a virtuous
service for this world and the next
if its motivations are true and it
complies with the sharia. With
MQ-Net, let us develop the
Islamic community’s economy’.
4. Ustadz Yusuf Mansur has enjoyed a rising profile as a preacher in recent years. In his teachings,
he emphasises the spiritual and economic benefits of philanthropy and enjoins Muslims to make
charitable donations (sekedah) as a means of expressing piety and seeking God’s favour. This
advertisement announces a ‘Get Rich in 40 Days’ seminar at the five-star Hotel Sultan. It is
common for contemporary preachers to draw a link between prosperity and Islam.
5. Paras is the largest-selling magazine for fashion-conscious, high-income Muslim women. The
lavish outfit shown here was designed by Nuniek Mawardi. It shows the haute couture aspirations
of the upper end of the Islamic fashion market.
6. This photograph from one of the leading up-market Muslim women’s magazines, NooR,
nicely captures the diverse influences on Muslim fashion. It features a design that is both
Islamic in its use of headscarf and ‘modest’ cut, but also European in its use of the beret and
tie. The chic theme is reinforced by the colonial European street setting.
7. Bank Muamalat is Indonesia’s oldest sharia bank and also its second largest. Unlike most
other sharia banks, Bank Muamalat makes overt use of Islamic themes and language in its
advertising. The advertisement shown here gives the bank’s slogan, ‘The First Pure Sharia
[bank]’, in both Arabic script and Indonesian. The ‘Saatnya Berhijrah’ caption above the fish
has a dual meaning. On one level, it is saying ‘Time to Switch’ to sharia banking, which is
described as ‘clean, transparent and more profitable’. On another level, hijrah refers to the
‘flight’ of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Thus, the use of the Arabic
term hijrah is intended to strengthen the Islamic appeal of the product.
8. BNI Syariah is one of the newer entrants to the sharia banking sector. In contrast to Bank
Muamalat, its use of Islamic language is understated. This advertisement for its sharia debit card
emphasises the utility of the card. Its depiction of a fashionably dressed Muslim woman in a
shopping mall shows that its target audience is middle to upper-class female consumers. The
main caption reads ‘Faith will definitely not hinder your actions in the wider world’, suggesting
that users of the card can be observant Muslims without economic or social penalty.
9. Haji Amirulloh, the ‘war commander’ (panglima perang) of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR).
A renowned expert in the martial art of pencak silat, Haji Amirulloh is in charge of the organisation’s
extensive paramilitary wing. It is frequently mobilised to attack alleged ‘places of vice’ such as
bars and clubs, and pressure them into paying protection money.
Photo: Ian Douglas Wilson.
10. A group of FBR members stand guard at an event in support of the 2007 election campaign
of former police chief Adang Daradjatun, who was running for the governorship of Jakarta. Daradjatun
lost the election to the then-incumbent vice-governor, Fauzi Bowo.
Photo: Ian Douglas Wilson.
11. Habib Rizieq Shihab, the co-founder and chair of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), addresses
a rally of his followers in central Jakarta. Rizieq is a fiery orator who exhorts Muslims to defend
their faith through resolute, sometimes militant, action. FPI members are frequently involved
in vigilante actions against ‘immoral’ anti-Islamic activities.
Photo: Ian Douglas Wilson.
12. Abdullah Gymnastiar (Aa Gym) in flight suit. This is one of several photographs of
Aa Gym on display for visitors to Daarut Tauhiid.
Photo: MQ Fotografi, Daarut Tauhiid.
13. Teh Rini (left), Teh Ninih (right) and Aa Gym appear publicly together for the first time.
Photo: James B. Hoesterey.

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